I’m guessing you’ve all heard of the BBG – and if you haven’t WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!
I know a lot of you have experience with Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (whether positive or negative), but this month marks my two and a half years continuously BBG training, so I thought I’d celebrate the milestone with a very personal blog post.
For anyone who really doesn’t know, BBG stands for The Bikini Body Guide (another sigh, but bear with me). Despite the dubious name, it’s creator and wonder women Kayla Itsines is a PT hailing from Australia, and owner of what are probably the most famous abs in the world. Broken up into 12 weeks of 6 weekly workouts (again bear with me here), each session is no longer than 40 minutes, with resistance training on Monday’s Wednesday’s and Friday’s and LISS or HIIT cardio sessions on Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Saturday’s.
Way back when I started, her guides were only available via an ebook download, but these days you pay for her monthly membership run through her app, Sweat With Kayla (which I am completely obsessed with)!
Like a lot of people who’ve had experience with her workout and diet plans (FYI I own both plans but mainly just follow her workout guides while following my own food plan), the BBG has absolutely changed my life, and I want to talk a little bit about my experience using it and how my body has changed over the past two and a half years!
I bought the BBG about six months after I’d finished uni, and I’d spent so many years struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food and my body, that being at university and away from home put a lot of strain on me mentally. I had no idea how a healthy 20 year woman should eat, look or behave. By my third year of uni I was actually at a healthy weight, but this felt so alien to me and refused to accept that this was naturally what my body wanted to be. On top in this I had an intense fear of public exercise so never EVER worked out unless I was locked in my room when I knew my housemates were sleeping. In the course of two years I’d gone from weighing 6 stone 9 lbs to almost 9 stone, and I was at a complete and utter loss with who I was.
I went from finishing university to starting my first graduate job at Harvey Nichols within 9 days, so had literally no time to work out who the hell I was and how I should look after myself now I wasn’t living with people who’d look after me and cook with me 24/7. My commutes were insane (I was leaving my house before 5:30am to get to work), and I was tired, sluggish and miserable.
I bought the BBG after falling on Kayla’s (then fairly unknown) instagram account, and poured over the hundreds of transformation pictures. Here were amazing women from all over the world, who were all completely ready for change, and who also struggled to lead a healthy balances lifestyle guilt free. The sense of community felt so strong that I bought the guides there and then and never looked back.
My first attempt at the BBG was hard. I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s an easy workout. For someone who’d rarely exercised in the three years at uni, my body could not handle the 37 minutes of intense resistance training and those two minutes breaks in between sets consisted of my pretty much crying in a messy sweaty ball. I couldn’t even do five consecutive press ups when I started I was that weak. I made it to week 5 and although I’d already seen huge results, I got busy at work and stopped.
A couple of weeks later I decided to give it another go, and haven’t stopped since. That first year of change was so incredible to witness that sometimes I’d look at my progress photos and could hardly believe it was me. The results came fairly quickly – Kayla’s mix of LISS, HIIT and resistance training sessions is ideal for simultaneously stripping fat and building muscle, but I’ve come to learn that muscle definition is a bitch to maintain.
I’m still doing the BBG now (I’m back to guide 1:0 week 7), and although I’ve had to gain back some of the fat I lost in the first year and I’m a little ‘fluffier’ than I was this time last summer, I can’t imagine stopping anytime soon. I’ve got to the point where I can mix my BBG training with ballet, running and yoga without being exhausted, which in itself is a huge improvement from two years ago.
I don’t often post progress photos here mainly because it’s terrifying and also because my mirror is always dusty (soz), but I thought I’d include a few to show how much this guide actually works, and how much your body can change with the help of a good training plan.
Below left is my body the first week I started two and a half years ago, and the below right is after 12 weeks following the guide. The others show the results of both the BBG guide 1.0 and 2.0 over the course of a year.
One thing the BBG has taught me is that it is possible for me to love my body without knowing how much I weigh. Right this moment I have absolutely no idea how much I weigh, and that is SUCH a weird feeling. I know I’m a lot heavier than I was a few years ago, but I also now recognise that my mental health and relationship with food was not healthy then.
I still have days when I find looking at myself and accepting my body a struggle. Not being able to maintain a low fat percentage is something I’ve found hard to deal with, but I’m slowly teaching myself the importance of balance, and the more I let myself enjoy those treat meals, the less I care about how ‘fluffy’ I feel.
So for anyone still debating whether they should give The Bikini Body Guide a go, I 110% encourage you to get downloading that app, grab your hand weights and just start today. Because honestly, it’ll change your life.